Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen is leading the Canadian delegation at the 29th Annual Tri-National Agricultural Accord, which runs from October 20 to 22.

“Even with the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that agricultural leaders continue open communications,” said Pedersen. “This year has reinforced the necessity of ensuring agriculture and food products can move between countries and get to consumers.”

The Tri-National Agricultural Accord represents a 29-year commitment among the senior state and provincial agricultural officials of Canada, the United States and Mexico to work together collaboratively on agricultural trade and development issues, as well as establish and strengthen business and trade relationships. At this year’s virtual gathering, delegates will discuss and make official statements on implementation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and state and provincial responses to COVID-19.

“There are a lot of opportunities ahead of us, particularly as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement has come into force,” added Pedersen. “We will also be looking at ways to collaborate within North America on zoning agreements to minimize trade disruptions due to animal disease outbreaks, which has happened elsewhere in the world with African swine fever.”

The United States and Canada enjoy the largest bilateral trading relationship in the world. The United States is Manitoba’s number one trading partner, accounting for agri-food exports worth $2.7 billion in 2019. Manitoba’s top exports to the United States are canola oil, processed potatoes, canola meal and live swine. Mexico is Manitoba’s fourth-largest agri-food trading partner, with $325 million in agri-food exports in 2019. Manitoba’s top exports to Mexico are pork, canola seed and oil, wheat and processed potatoes.

Following this year’s virtual meeting, the 2021 accord will be held in Washington, D.C.